Am I Next?

<p>Police on the scene of a shooting in Philadelphia | Source: <a href="" target="">Philadelphia Inquirer </a></p><p></p>

Police on the scene of a shooting in Philadelphia | Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

Do you know how many kids were shot in Philly in 2023? 104 kids. The violence needs to stop. 

Kids are losing their lives so young and they don't get to fulfill their life and dreams. They don’t get to graduate or go to prom, and they will never get to experience another birthday.

The recent mass shooting in Kingsessing impacted my brother, myself, and those around me. While I did not get shot, unfortunately my 13 year old brother got shot, just hanging outside in Kingsessing with his friends having fun. His best friend died in front of him. 

People cannot even walk down the street without getting shot and that’s unfair to mothers, fathers and everyone trying to live out their days. 

583 people from the age range of 0-30 were shot this year. Young people deserve better. 

Am I the next young person to get killed?

Are my brothers next? 

Who else is next?

Nobody should be next. It is not fair that I cannot walk down the street without thinking, am I the next statistic, the next young person to get killed?

Because you are arguing and fighting with people does not mean that you have to go get a gun and kill them. It is very unfair and unnecessary that you can take someone's life after a fight or an argument. 

We need better gun control so that people are not getting guns and using them in a bad way in the first place. We need to be preventing violence more than we are responding to it. 

We need more spaces for youth to chill and have fun with their friends without getting shot. We need more recreational centers, local parks, pools, and spaces for organized sports. Kids need somewhere to go so they are not outside, unsupervised, and left in unsafe conditions.

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Schools also need to be more protected so that they are safe spaces for youth. Why are there so many school shootings?  Why do some kids not feel safe walking down the hallways? 

I think that there should be at least 2-5 school police officers at the school depending on how big the school is. The school police should have anti-discrimination training and know how to make the school feel safe without feeling like a prison. Schools also need more conflict resolution training, spaces that are safe from bullying and violence, and staff to help manage the school’s environment and climate. 

Politicians need to hear and respond to us by creating policies that get more guns off of our streets. They should also use the government money to create more spaces where youth feel safe, support violence prevention programs like Mothers in Charge, and fund our schools better. 

Young people are the future and if we keep killing our youth, we will not have any young people left to change our society.

Melissa Fitzgerald is a rising freshman at Girls High and a graduate of Henry C. Lea School. She is a 2023 intern at Civic Engagement Summer, a program at the Netter Center under the University of Pennsylvania. 


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